Everyone needs a high-revving screamer of an engine in their life
Unlike crabs, revs are something you'll want a whole lot of.
Life can change faster than you can shift gears. From our closest friends to our favorite hobbies and even that first playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas, we must cherish everything for we'll never know what we have until it's suddenly all gone. Drive that car you've been on the fence about selling or enjoy that local meet until some asshole in a Challenger ruins it. However, there are gifts from the gods that a lot of people seem to be forgetting about, something that's rapidly disappearing that we need to ride out for as long as possible: screaming engines with redlines higher than Seth Rogen in a room with Snoop Dogg.
Yes, I know, turbos and supercharged mills are rad, I get that. I like them too. Chevy LS engines are robust torque monsters, and many hot hatch motors can be absolute firecrackers. They're all delightful in their own ways, but have you ever experienced winding a motor out past seven-grand? Now that's some legal cocaine right there. Nothing hits quite the same as working an engine to get every single rev out of it and listening to it sing its song to the heavens.
The 5.2L "Voodoo" V8 from the Shelby GT350 is a reminder of what great performance car engines used to be. Photo: Jeric Jaleco
It's a trend mostly synonymous with naturally-aspirated powerplants, but some forced-induction and hybridized motors are capable of pulling off the same party tricks. Ferraris, McLarens, and Lamborghinis are renowned for their eager, long-legged engines regardless if they're encumbered by any sort of assistance. Lamborghini to this day will still sell naturally-aspirated V10s and V12s to a discerning crowd, and don't forget Porsche's GT cars and their wailing flat-sixes that can put many other supercar engines to shame.
Not one for supercars? More revs aren't exclusive to those with more money. The third-generation Coyote V8 in the facelifted Mustang GT can be wrung out to a redline of 7,600 RPM, and used GT350s are in abundance. Even Cyclone V6 Mustangs and prior-generation Coyote engines can touch seven-grand, and Nissan Z cars offer strong value in terms of revs-per-dollar.
There's also screamers to be found in older, simpler metal. E46-generation BMW M3s and Integra Type Rs are hot on the online auction market, and the tried-and-true LS7 V8 from the C6-generation Corvette Z06 can graze a redline of 7,000. Realistically speaking, however, you'd want an old Honda. As painfully cliché as it is, there's a great reward in hitting that stratospheric power peak as you wait for, ahem, VTEC to kick in, yo. There are likely a dozen Integra GS-Rs and S2000s on Craigslist waiting for new owners to let them sing. Just no fart cans, dammit.
Are these the fastest ways to get around? No, probably not, especially when the latest engines to roll out of factories can make their peak torque at such low spots on the rev range. I totally get that aspect. After all, that makes cars feel faster in traffic or racing from a roll. It makes cars easier to carry speed which in turn attracts more prospective buyers which then encourages manufacturers to keep building engines like that. It's just that you can't help but feel that we're losing something as cars evolve in that certain way. A soul for a soul.
I had the opportunity to drive an F80-generation M3 and a Shelby GT350 in recent months as well as a couple of Audi R8s a couple years prior. All of them had a certain charm to them, even the Bimmer and its twin-turbo setup. With redlines thousands of RPM higher than many other cars, they fizzed and jittered in certain ways that really got the senses aflame. I didn't quite feel that when I experienced, say, Chevy's LS and LT motors or Subaru's WRX STI boxer. The motors got angrier the harder you flogged them, and it was a euphoric, incredibly rewarding sensation. You were in the mood to completely obliterate the straight ahead of you, and so were the cars.
The current Civic Type R is among the fastest, most capable hot hatches in existence, but its heart lacks the shout and soul of its forebearers. The Shelby GT350 is dead, and Ford reportedly has plans to put the Coyote out to pasture with no details on a successor. Lamborghini and Porsche, while unobtanium to most, appear to be the last vestiges of high RPMs in poster cars while the likes of the Mustang, Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86, and Mazda MX-5 Miata continue to wave their redlines high for blue-collar buyers.
There aren't too many powerplants in production today that can rev to the stars, and while today's cars are as fast as ever, that's still a bit of a shame. Technologies inevitably change with the march of time, so we have to experience these now before there's no more to be had. If you're into punchy midranges or low-down grunt, that's fine too. To each their own, but everyone ought to experience a screamer. There's no good way to really convey how much fun working an engine can be until you see for yourself, so go pester the neighbor's kid for a spin in their Integra GS-R. You won't regret it.